T Nation

Calling All Experienced Shirted Benchers


Im in a dilemma. I have a shirt custom from ken, i have a very wide chest and shoulders. he gave me a 52 super katana, with a 50 chest and 48 sleeves. fully broken in and used in competition twice. i need about 515 to touch. but at my last meet, i couldnt get 530 to touch, i did on my second attempt but it was VERY low. i bombed out because i could not touch. i have very long limbs, im 6'4. after the meet i got into a conversation with another experienced bencher and she said that the chest plate on my shirt was pretty small, with my wide chest that may be the reason why i have such a hard time touching and the shirt pulls me forward. i dont want to buy a new shirt if i dont have to. what is your experience with hard to touch shirts, and what is your best advice? do i just need to man up and pull the bar to my chest? i can post a picture of the shirt if that would help. thanks!


Where do you lift. APF? can you lift your head off the bench? The only two ways to et a "light weight to touch are to row the bar to your chest or to lift your head and kinda roll up. What is your best bench? You could always just get stronger and open heavier.


Read this article....



Get a spray bottle and fill it with water... once you have the shirt on, spray the chest plate to wet it a little bit. It'll help the chest plate stretch a little. You can spray as much or as little of the shirt as you'd like.


USAPL, i WISH i could pick my head up, it would make touching much easier. my best bench is 545 in the gym, and its a joke. my coach calls my weight so i dont question him. i will ask for more though this next training session, i emailed ken and his tip was to just keep loading the weight on. is this a good idea?


thankyou, thats a great idea.


is that you in your avatar? It looks like your heels so I didn't think you were in the USPF or USAPL.

Another important thing is the collar. I use the f6 so this may not exactly translate to a katana, but for my opener I have the collar pretty high and then pull it down a little with each attempt. This allows for a fairly light opener while still getting maximum carryover with heavier weights.

I also think it would be a good idea to hit at least a 95-100% single. If I were in your position and had missed because I couldn't touch, I would put at least another 10-15 pounds on and give it another go. If you know you can bench 600, I don't see anything wrong with missing a touch at 530 and jumping to 550. If 545 is the heaviest you have ever gone though, I would be less confident in making this jump.


Have your coach read that article...Dizenzo knows his shit and it's a technique that Bill Crawford used...work triples in the shirt. Unless the shirt is way too agressive for you, you should be able to touch less than 100% in it.

You'll notice if you take triples the first rep will lock up high, the second rep will sink even deeper and the third rep even deeper. It's almost like your body is relaxing but it's not...it's tough to explain but I guarantee this method works.


yes that is me from this summer when i was doing alot of WABDL meets, who allows the feet to be that way, and the raising of the head. we dont jack the shirt down at all, only to get it away from my neck so it doesnt strangle me. Thanks for the advice, I realized i definetly just need to load the weight up and that will do the trick, I just have to show my coach i can press the weight consistently and he will not have a problem with me opening up at a high weight. Another thing is the week before the meet I only went to a 1 board, no touching definitely need to change that don't you think?


Train your lats hard, so you can actually "pull" the bar to your chest. Also train to get a bigger arch, so you can cut your ROM down. Can we see a vid of you benching?


Lurchman, it seams like you are a pretty thick guy at those measurements as I am pretty close to your's. In my experience with the Super katana the touch spot is dependant on how low or high you set the collar. Obviously the lower you pull it down the lower the bubble. Also, DO NOT tuck the elbows to their max until you meed to touch. Let them wing a bit on the way down then tuck them when the shirt gets unbearably tight.


see i usually do that! at the last meet there were many variables that shouldnt have been in play. it seems like once i got on the bench i just forgot? my setup was ok, not GREAT. and i just didnt tuck my elbows like you said...i took some video in high def ill get the clips together of the missed attempts to show you. also, being a large guy i have gotten red lighted on my touch point earlier, especially in the USAPL so i tend to NOT to not tuck my elbows because i go to low on my chest. ill post the vid ASAP its in 1080p so it will take awhile. ill keep it simple though no titles or transitions or music


i will get a video together of the last meet, and post it ASAP.


here is the video, all three attempts. 529,529,545. the final weight was to get more weight on the bar so i could touch easier. my hands went over my elbows that's why i believe i dumped the bar. im only 19 and this is the ending to my first year in the sport. definitely have a long way to go. please give constructive criticism.


Yeah your just letting the bar float down, you really need to pull it into your groove like a row. You cant really do anything about you being a tall drink of water, I'm guessing you have a great deadlift?


blew out my disc between the L4/L5 vertebrae. i deadlifted for the first time in 4 years a few months ago. and i tripled 405. so id say not bad. i feel like once i develop it because of my long arms i will be pretty damn good. my love will always be with the bench though!


Not always a good idea to keep piling weight on you might get to a point where the weight required to touch can't be pressed. I would recommend this- go up to you top weight, take 40lbs off the bar and try and get a touch, you will be surprised how far you can get it down.